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DC2017 Speaker Bios Click here for Printable version
 
David LaMotte Bio

David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker, author, and activist. He has produced 12 CDs and performed 2500 concerts on 5 continents. The Boston Globe says he “pushes the envelope with challenging lyrics and unusual tunings, but he also pays homage to folk tradition," while BBC Radio praises his “charm, stories, humour, insightful songs, sweet voice and dazzling guitar ability.”
 
LaMotte suspended his music career in 2008 to accept a Rotary World Peace Fellowship, earning a master’s degree in International Studies, Peace, and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. As part of that program, he also spent three months in rural Andhra Pradesh, India, working with a Gandhian development organization.
David maintains a dense calendar of speaking and musical events worldwide. He spoke at the Scottish Parliament building this year, and was recently interviewed on Al Jazeera News Network. He serves as the president of PEG Partners, the non-profit organization he co-founded to support schools and libraries in Guatemala. He is also a consultant on peace and justice issues for the North Carolina Council of Churches, and serves as the Clerk (chair) of the Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group for the AFSC (Quakers). 
He has published two illustrated children’s books, S.S. Bathtub, a rhyming book for small children based on his award-winning song of the same name, and White Flour, a whimsical introduction to nonviolence, based on true events. David’s most recent projects include his 2014 book Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness (already in its 2nd printing), and PickOne.org, a web site that nourishes positive change by inspiring and empowering people to take action on issues they care about. 


David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker, author, and activist. He has produced 11 CDs and performed 2500 concerts on 5 continents.
 
He suspended his music career in 2008 to accept a Rotary World Peace Fellowship, earning a master’s degree in International Studies, Peace, and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and working in rural India as part of that degree.
 
David maintains a dense calendar of speaking and musical events worldwide. He also serves as the president of PEG Partners, the non-profit organization he co-founded to support schools and libraries in Guatemala. In addition to that, he serves as the Clerk (chair) of the Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group for the AFSC (Quakers).
 
His 12th album, The Other Way Around, was released on September 2nd, 2016. The album includes musicians from 6 continents.




 
Christopher Michaelson Bio

After earning his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, Christopher Michaelson joined the New York office of Price Waterhouse (now PwC) in 1998 as one of the first consultants in an ethics advisory practice. A few years into his consulting career, he accepted a full-time lectureship at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania while keeping a foot in practice. Before leaving PwC in 2016, he worked on ten editions of its Global CEO Survey and was PwC’s Strategy Officer to the World Economic Forum. Christopher moved to NYU-Stern in 2005, where he continues on the Business and Society faculty. After moving home to Minneapolis, he also joined one of the largest business ethics faculties in the world at the University of St. Thomas in 2008, where he is now David A. and Barbara Koch (pronounced “coach”) Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. He was named one of Compliance Week’s “Top Minds” of 2016.
 
 
Christopher Michaelson
David A. and Barbara Koch (pronounced "coach") Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility
Associate Professor, Ethics & Business Law
University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business
1000 LaSalle Ave., TMH 443
Minneapolis, MN 55403-2005 U.S.A.
+1 651 962 4349
 



Neema Namadamu Bio
Neema Namadamu is a visionary game-changer. Women Thrive Worldwide named her as 1 of 14 Fierce Women’s Rights Advocates To Watch In 2014. In a Huffington Post article, peace activist John Dear said, “She ranks with Leymah Gbowee, the Nobel laureate from Liberia and Mairead Maguire, the Nobel laureate from Belfast -- two of our greatest living peacemakers.”
 
Crippled from polio, Neema is the first woman with disability from her ethnic group to earn a university degree, going on to serve in Parliament for South Kivu province, and then Chief Advisor to DRC’s Minister of Gender and Family. Upon leaving government service, Neema founded a NGO to support disabled female-victims of violence in East Congo. She established “Shakoshi” to support disabled Congolese women seamstresses sell their handmade products online. She founded Synergy of Congolese Women’s Associations (SAFECO), a forum to foster collaboration among women-led NGOs to work their Peace, Rights, and Development agenda. She also founded the Maman Shujaa (Hero Women) Center, providing computer literacy training and free internet to 150 women and girls per week, helping them advocate and share their stories globally. On behalf of the Maman Shujaa members, Neema generated a petition that garnered over 100,000 signatures, resulting in an invitation to the White House that helped spur the appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy to DRC. In 2014, Neema opened a second Maman Shujaa Center in a very remote area in Eastern Congo, using solar energy and satellite Internet to connect isolated women to their sisters around the world.
 
Neema formed the Girl Ambassadors Leadership program, a mentoring program to train up the next generation of Maman Shujaa. The Girl Ambassadors program was featured in Global Fund for Women's "Imagining Equality": exploring women’s human rights through art: Girl Ambassadors for Peace.
 
Neema has become the face representing Women's Transformative Leadership in Africa, as depicted on the cover of MasterCard Foundation’s recently sponsored study. In 2013 Neema was awarded “Architect of Peace and Civil Society Activist” in the Great Lakes Region by Vision Barza. Neema was honored as “Africa’s Most Influential Woman for 2014”, by South African-based Celebrating Excellence in Organizations. In 2015, Neema was listed among SALT Magazine’s 100 Most Inspiring Women, and featured in the Unsung Heroes in the Face of Evil Exhibition in Rotterdam, Netherlands. 
 
Neema has been engaged to speak at empowering events around the world; from the inaugural commemoration of the Comfort Women of World War II in Seoul Korea, to Women in the World, Bryn Mawr, and the U.S. State Department in the U.S., to the New Stories Summit in Findhorn Scotland, to the Global Summit to EVAW in London.
 
 
Says Neema, “Impact is not measured by whether or not you are amassing followers, but whether or not you are inspiring leadership. We don’t want a world of leaders and followers, but leaders only – all of us together leading this world into the good of all that’s possible.”





Thomas M. Thorfinnson Bio
 
Chief Strategy Officer for Rotary International   
Rotary Club of Eden Prairie Noon
 
Tom is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield MN; majoring in mathematics and economics and graduating with honors. He received his law degree from Marquette Law School in Milwaukee WI and was engaged in the private practice of corporate law for over 35 years in the greater Minneapolis area. For two years he was General Counsel for Accra Care Inc. the largest home health care agency in the State of Minnesota employing over 2000 employees. He has served on the board of directors of over 25 for profit and not for profit organizations, including 17 years as a director for First Minnetonka City Bank.   For 16 years he was an instructor of business law for the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and was a frequent lecturer for continuing legal education courses.   In October of 2016 Tom assumed was hired by Rotary International as its Chief Strategy Officer. 
Tom joined Rotary in 1980 and has served Rotary in various volunteer capacities including; Vice President and Director of Rotary International, Vice Chair and Trustee of the Rotary Foundation, seven years as either a member or liaison to the Strategic Planning Committee, Chairman of the TRF Programs Committee, Chairman of the TRF Water and Sanitation Major Gifts Initiative, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the RI/USAID International H2O Collaboration, Chairman of the Audit Committee, Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator, Institute Chair, Polio Eradication national advisor, District Governor, District Membership Chair and Annual Giving chair for district 5950.
Tom and his wife, Jamie, have two daughters Alexis and Ashley. Alexis and her husband Mike live in Chaska MN and both work for Wells Fargo. They have two children, Rory and Teddy. Ashley and her husband Chris recently moved to Minneapolis. Chris works for an international marketing and research firm. Ashley has a Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and is a senior strategist for Reve Consulting based in Minneapolis.
Tom has made over 20 volunteer trips to developing countries include a number to Haiti.